Güneş Murat Tezcür and Mehmet Gurses, 2017. "Ethnic Exclusion and Mobilization: The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey," Comparative Politics 49(2).

Why does ethnicity become politically salient and the basis of mobilization for some members of a disadvantaged group but not for others? This article suggests that members of a disadvantaged ethnic group are unlikely to support ethnic mobilization as long as they perceive the challenges of personal mobility in the political system open. It builds upon an original dataset of biographical information of 2,952 governors, ministers, and judges in Turkey. The results show that support for Kurdish ethno-mobilization and recruitment into the Kurdish insurgency remain low in Kurdish localities with greater representation in the echelons of political power. This finding supports institutional approach to the study of ethnicity and demonstrates the importance of state recruitment patterns in shaping the political saliency of ethnic identity.  

Güneş Murat Tezcür, 2015. "Catholic and Muslim Human Rights Activism in Violent Internal Conflicts," Politics and Religion 8(1): 111-134. 

When do religious organizations develop human rights platforms during violent internal conflicts? This article offers the first comparative study to address this question and focuses on religious organizations in El Salvador, Peru, Turkey, and Indonesia. It identifies two causal factors to explain variation in religious human rights activism in these four countries: (1) transnational religious ideas and linkages, and (2) the nature of the state-religion relationship. First, Vatican II and Liberation theology significantly contributed to the rise of religious human rights activism in El Salvador and Peru. Similar transitional linkages were absent in Turkey and Indonesia. Next, the more conflictual nature of the state-religion relationship in El Salvador explains why the Salvadorian Church pursued a more determined human rights agenda than its Peruvian counterpart. A similarly conflictual state-religion relationship contributed to the presence of Islamic human rights activism in Turkey, and a less conflictual relationship prevented its emergence in Indonesia.

Güneş Murat Tezcür, 2010. "When Democratization Radicalizes? The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in Turkey," Journal of Peace Research 47(6): 775-789.

This article addresses a historical puzzle: Why did the insurgent PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan), which was militarily defeated, which renounced the goal of secession, and whose leader was under the custody of the Turkish state, remobilize its armed forces in a time when opportunities for the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question were unprecedented in Turkey? The PKK’s radicalization at a period of EU-induced democratization in Turkey counters the conventional argument that fostering democracy would reduce the problems of ethnic conflict. Explanations based on resource mobilization, political opportunity structures, and cognitive framing fail to provide a satisfactory answer. The article argues that democratization will not necessarily facilitate the end of violent conflict as long as it introduces competition that challenges the political hegemony of the insurgent organization over its ethnic constituency. Under the dynamics of competition, the survival of the organization necessitates radicalization rather than moderation. As long as the insurgent organization successfully recruits new militants, democratization is not a panacea to violent conflict. The findings indicate that research on the micro-level dynamics of insurgency recruitment will contribute to a better understanding of ethnic conflict management. Data come from multiple sources including ethnographic fieldwork, statistical analyses of quantitative data (i.e. spatial clustering and ecological inference), and systematic reading of original documents.

Güneş Murat Tezcür, 2009. "Judicial Activism in Perilous Times: The Turkish Case," Law & Society Review 43(2): 305-336.

Under what circumstances do courts act in ways that challenge the political hegemony of the military in countries with weak democratic institutions? This article addresses this question by focusing on a critical case of judicial activism in Turkey. It argues that lower courts unexpectedly can be centers of judicial activism that contributes to expansion of civil liberties and restrictions on arbitrary state power when the high judiciary supports the political status quo. This is because lower courts provide greater access to legal mobilization pursued by civil society actors. At the same time, judicial activism in lower courts is sustainable only when political power is distributed among elites with conflicting interests, and the civilian government offers support and protection to activist members of the judiciary.

Güneş Murat Tezcür, 2009. "Kurdish Nationalism and Identity in Turkey: A Conceptual Reinterpretation," European Journal of Turkish Studies 10.

This article argues that the evolution of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey is more ambivalent and nuanced than is usually acknowledged. This claim is based on three interpretive approaches: 1) The primary actors in national politics are conceptualized as organizations, rather than as ethnic groups; 2) A boundary-making approach to ethnic identities is more promising than an insistence on an ethnic versus civic nationalism dichotomy; and 3) State-society relations are better understood in terms of a series of interactions among state actors and social actors than in terms of a global dichotomy of state and society. These three approaches may help develop answers to important questions regarding political identity in Turkey. First, why do so many Kurdish-speaking citizens fail to articulate their identity in the terms demanded by the Kurdish nationalist movement? Second, why are the electoral returns in those areas of Turkey with large numbers of Kurdish speakers not more closely correlated with the ethnic distribution of the population? Finally, why does the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) often act in ways that are inconsistent with its declared goal of defending and expanding the political and civil rights of the Kurds?